I am constantly amazed at the talent of people who have entered my life at one time or another. Two past band-mates, Katie Warren and (newly-married) Ben Rosenbush of The Brighton, recently released stellar albums that happened to be reviewed side-by-side today in CCM Magazine, along with another on Christianity Today.
I have been slacking on my Friday Afternoon Song posts over on Sugar & Caffeine and One Stop Schop since the new year started (is it June already?), and have been wanting to review both of these incredible album debuts. However since these two publications beat me to the punch, I will simply leave the writing to the professionals and highlight the articles here.
First off, KATIE WARREN.
The first time I met Katie, I was throwing a giant fish-shaped pillow at her from the second story of a building at Texas A&M.
We were both part of an organization on campus that paired older students with incoming freshman, and I was lucky enough to get her as my lil' sis. We immediately launched into a battle of wit, trading words back and forth like Eminem and Papa Doc (as much as two middle class white folks from Texas can). And I can safely say that I lost. This was the beginning of a long friendship.
I quickly learned of her incredible voice and we began playing the College Station music scene, and eventually talked her into doing a demo album with lifelong buddy and music renaissance-man Jacob Moore in Abilene.
Fast-forward seven years, and Katie is now a member of the worship team at Houston's Second Baptist Church (where she serves alongside some Caedmon's Call band members) and recently released her debut album "Gentle Whispers." Like I said, I will leave it to the professionals for the reviews and here is what they are saying:
"With an angelic voice and veteran experience... Katie Warren is already a notch above the indie ranks. Her delicate piano stylings are bathed in organic production from Jeremy Good, while the vertically-framed lyrics also interject plenty of personal storytelling." (Read the full review in Christianity Today)
"Conjuring up the passionate deliveries of signature vocalists like Christy Nockels and Susan Ashton... Katie Warren expertly weaves through twelve songs that both question and confirm her sincere faith." "... Warren's quiet prowess on softer tunes like "Lullaby" warrants this new artist and her nicely knit debut encore recognition." (Read the full review in CCM Magazine)
'Nuff said. I am blown away every time I hear her voice. And to see for yourself, here is Katie performing Martina McBride's "Anyway."
- Buy Gentle Whispers on iTunes
- Follow Katie Warren on Twitter
- Watch Katie Warren on YouTube
- Become a fan of Katie Warren on Facebook
Next, THE BRIGHTON.
I first met Ben when I was asked to join a summer tour put together by now lifelong buddy (and crazy talented) Andrew Greer. During our first rehearsal, I was immediately drawn to the beautiful complimentary melodies coming from a pearl-snap-adorned man playing the cello. I was then elated to find that not only could this guy sit back and weave orchestral intricacies into every song, but could also write, play guitar and lead with the same level of passion and detailed nuance.
Unfortunately, Ben and I lost touch over the years only to recently reconnect when I was told he was releasing an album under the name "The Brighton." I couldn't have jumped faster at the opportunity to hear his music again and immediately purchased it on iTunes.
I couldn't have been more pleased to find the sound that I remembered from that summer coming through in full force.
Once again, I will leave it to the reviews to do the talking:
"The Minneapolis orchestral folk/rock collective is just beginning, but the sounds are already oh so sweet. The orchestral canvas of The Brighton is a natural given Rosenbush's background as a cellist. However, it's also the type of music he finds himself heading toward when wanting to engage the values most important to him. "To me, it's authentic and portrays the honesty of what I'm hoping to do in writing songs." For The Brighton, it's the strings and sounds of the orchestral elements that speak mor substantively than just notes. "Music to me is about communication and I think you have to be honest when you're communicating something," says Rosenbush. "It doesn't have to be your story, but it needs to be a real story." (Read the full review in CCM Magazine)
This is an album you put on and listen to from beginning to end without stopping, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for The Brighton.